EXCLUSIVE: A new GOP-led bill would sanction foreign governments that conduct “deadly chemical and biological programs” that threaten global public health, following admissions by the FBI and the Department of Energy that the COVID-19 virus most likely originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, is leading the legislation along with Reps. Michael Guest, R-Miss., and Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. The bill would impose sanctions on foreign nations that have biological and chemical programs operating with “gross negligence.”
It would expand upon the existing sanctions system established in 1991 under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act in order to include countries that the Republicans say operate their own programs with “extreme carelessness.”
The legislation comes after FBI Director Chris Wray admitted last week that COVID-19 “most likely” came from a Chinese lab.
“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray told Fox News in an interview. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.”
The Energy Department, which had been undecided on the origin of the pandemic, also recently concluded that the coronavirus most likely spread due to a mishap at a Chinese laboratory, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a classified intelligence report provided to the White House and “key members of Congress.”
“In light of assessments by the Department of Energy and the FBI that the COVID-19 virus leaked from a Chinese lab, I am proud to introduce legislation that will impose ruinous sanctions on our enemies for conducting negligent chemical experiments and spearheading other careless biological programs,” Feenstra, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, told Fox News Digital.
“It’s shameful that China unleashed the worst pandemic in more than a century on the American people and the world while stonewalling investigations into its origins. My bill will finally make the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) pay a significant price,” he said.
The proposed legislation would also require that there be a full investigation into COVID-19 virus origins.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held its first hearing Wednesday on the origins of COVID-19, focusing on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s role in attempting to “disprove” the lab leak theory as well as ways to prevent a future pandemic from occurring. Fauci is the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The hearing comes after the subcommittee said over the weekend it had uncovered new email evidence suggesting that Fauci prompted the drafting of the “proximal origin” publication meant to “disprove” the COVID-19 lab leak theory.